(Photo by Jon Hardy/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah - In its last regular season games of the year, the BYU softball team will take on Nevada this Friday and Saturday in a three-game series.
BYU (37-13, 12-4 WAC) is still fighting with Hawai'i and Fresno State for the top three seeds in next week's WAC Tournament and will look to extend its current eight-game win streak when the Cougars travel to Reno to face the Wolf Pack (21-31, 9-9).
Fri., May 4
3 p.m. PT
Sat., May 5
1 p.m. & 3 p.m. PT
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— BYU and Nevada are playing for the first time in series history this weekend.
— The Cougars are currently in third place in the WAC standings at 12-4, one game ahead of Fresno State (11-5) and 1.5 games behind Hawai’i (14-3). BYU has finished in the top two in its conference standings each of the past seven seasons.
— Senior outfielder Delaney Willard currently has 77 RBI, tied for the WAC record for most RBI in a season set in 1998. With a minimum of seven games left this season and with her current pace of 1.58 RBI per game, Willard would finish with 87 RBI, three shy of the BYU record and a mark that would be 13th all-time in NCAA history.
— Senior Stacie Toney was named Academic All-District 8 on Wednesday. One of four infielders selected to the first team, Toney is an elementary education major with a 3.77 GPA.
— In her last eight games, junior shortstop JC Clayton is batting .724 with 21 hits in 29 at bats. Clayton also has 10 runs, five RBI, two walks and two strikeouts during that time.
— Willard has emerged as an All-America and WAC Hitter of the Year candidate as she is currently ranked in the NCAA top-25 in seven different categories, including total RBI, (2nd, 77) RBI per game (2nd, 1.58), slugging percentage (6th, .901), batting average (6th, .451), home runs per game (22nd, 0.31), on base percentage (21st, .532) and home runs (21st, 15).
• Despite the two teams’ relative proximity, the Cougars and Wolf Pack have never played each other. BYU is no stranger to playing in the southern part of the state, having gone to numerous tournaments in Las Vegas in addition to playing former conference opponent UNLV. BYU has a 13-9 record in Sin City against the Rebels.
• Nevada’s Karley Hopkins easily leads the team with a .328 batting average. However, her 58 hits is just five more than Lauren Lastrapes who has 53 and a .301 average. Lastrapes leads the team with 84 total bases, including nine doubles, two triples and six home runs.
• No Wolf Pack pitcher has an ERA below 3.00, but Karlyn Jones is close with a 3.08 ERA and 9-4 record. Nevada has used three pitchers fairly evenly, with all three totaling between 20 and 30 appearances on the year. Mallary Darby leads the team with 155.1 innings pitched and 106 strikeouts on her way to a 10-14 record.
• Jones leads the nation in walks allowed per seven innings at 0.56, having allowed just eight walks compared to 80 strikeouts.
• Nevada is 6-11 at home this season and is playing in Reno for the first time since hosting Hawai’i on April 21. The Wolf Pack join BYU as two of five teams to defeat the Rainbow Wahine this season, stealing a 4-0 victory.
• Nevada and Hawai’i are the only two teams to have defeated every WAC team at least once this season. In six WAC series, Nevada has gone 1-2 vs. Fresno State, 2-1 vs. Utah State, 1-2 vs. San Jose State, 2-1 vs. New Mexico State, 1-2 vs. Hawai’i and 2-1 vs. Louisiana Tech.
ON BASE OFTEN
Hits, walks, hit by pitch -- it doesn’t matter how the Cougars have reached base this season, but they’ve done it more often than almost any other team in BYU history this season. Two players, JC Clayton and Delaney Willard, have on base percentages that rank in the top-10 in the BYU individual rankings.
1) 2010 .416
2) 2012 .406
3) 2008 .402
Junior shortstop JC Clayton has been on fire from the plate recently, batting .721 in BYU’s last eight games. Clayton has 21 hits in 29 at bats. Clayton
improved her batting average from .353 to a robust .420 during the eight-game streak, putting her third in the WAC and 28th in the nation.
Almond recently won four straight decisions during BYU’s six game win streak. Last time a streak at least that long occurred was when Paige Affleck
earned six straight wins from April 2-10, 2010 to start an eventual nine-game BYU win streak. The sophomore is looking to become just the third pitcher at BYU to finish a season with a win percentage above .800 (min. 15 decisions):
Daniela Snow 2008 16-3 .842
Tori Almond 2012 15-3 .833
Paige Affleck 2008 14-3 .824
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE
The Cougars have compiled a 17-1 record at home this season and are 58-3 at Gail Miller Field since the middle of the 2008 season. Since 2009, BYU has not lost more than a single game at home in the last four seasons. This season, No. 15 Hawaii pulled out a 1-0 win in the Cougars’ lone home loss, snapping a program-best 27-game home win streak.
Despite a tough schedule that has BYU ranked No. 37 in the RPI rankings, the Cougars have put up some of the best marks in program history:
Best Win Percentage, Regular Season
2010 43-11, .796
2005 41-12, .774
2012 37-13, .740
2008 42-18, .700
Most Wins, Regular Season
2010 - 43
2008 - 42
2007 - 41
2005 - 41
2006 - 40
2012 - 37